No trace yet of MV Bingo crew

The all-male crew of the merchant vessel Bingo that sunk about 40 nautical miles south of Haldia Saturday is still missing. The ship had left Haldia on October 11.

Sharad Mantri, DIG and commandant, Coast Guard district headquarters, said Sunday none of the 18 crew members was traceable.

"The Dornier aircraft sent on a search Saturday reportedly saw a dinghy and alerted us. We rushed the ship Bajra to the spot but what it found was not a dinghy," he said.

Mantri said another big vessel Samudra Prahari was being brought from Visakhapatnam to continue the search.

In the meanwhile, the Dornier has been brought back to Kolkata and would re-start search at daybreak

Monday.

"Bajra is damaged and the ships we have at Haldia are too small. Samudra Prahari will be used from 1.30 am tomorrow (Monday)," he said.

Earlier in the day, Mantri said Coast Guard received a message from MV Bingo, a Panama-registered vessel, at around 5.30 pm Saturday that it was tilting due to rough weather and might sink.

"At about 7.30 pm, we got a message that all 18 crew members 17 from China and one from Myanmar had jumped off and taken shelter on a dinghy. The ship sank late night at a place 10-12 metres deep," he said.

"The dinghy has food and water for the crew to survive 2-3 days, which gives us hope. But the weather was such last night we have no clue where the crew has drifted," Mantri said.

The ship was carrying 2,000 metric tonnes of iron ore which tilted it 45-50 degrees, causing water entry.

Captain A K Bagchi, director (marine), said: "They (the crew) didn't need permission to sail. They went to the sea knowing fully well the weather was rough."

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